The NHS is continuing to help people to manage illness linked to coronavirus, but is still urging parents to bring children forward for lifesaving vaccinations to stop deadly diseases like measles and mumps.
With many people expressing concern and even fear about seeking help during the virus emergency, the NHS is running a nationwide campaign to encourage people to come forward for help when they need it.
As long as those attending appointments, including parents of babies or children, do not have symptoms or are not self-isolating because someone in the household is displaying symptoms, all scheduled vaccinations should go ahead as normal.
Essential, routine vaccinations like the MMR jab can save a child’s life and are available through family doctors.
London’s services are working in new ways to ensure that people including babies, children and pregnant women still receive their routine vaccinations.
The Project Surgery in Plaistow, east London is now giving vaccinations to people inside their cars or to children in buggies, so that people don’t need to enter the surgery.
Dr Farzana Hussain, GP Principal explained:
“It is vital that people continue to receive essential vaccinations to prevent further outbreaks of serious illness. We are working hard to keep you, your family and our staff safe from Covid-19 as well as provide important protection against these potentially life-threatening diseases.”
The national immunisation programme is highly successful in reducing the number of serious and life-threatening diseases such as whooping cough, diphtheria and measles.
High vaccine uptake can prevent a resurgence of infections, which can cause harm and put unnecessary added pressure on the NHS.
Despite a sustained push from the NHS and partner organisations, the influence of so-called antivaxxers is thought to have played a part in a decline in uptake for the MMR jab in recent years.
When attending appointments, people should follow government guidance and ensure they are two metres apart from anyone outside their household and minimise time spent outside.
If a patient or a member of their household develops coronavirus symptoms, they should follow government guidance and reschedule their appointment.
If individuals or members of a household need advice from a GP practice about symptoms not related to coronavirus, they should contact the practice online or by phone to be assessed.
Parents are advised to do this if their children have symptoms of scarlet fever as we reach the peak season between late March and mid-April. Symptoms of this include a rash, sore throat, headache and fever.
Scarlet fever mainly infects children and is most common between the ages of 2 and 8 years. It was once a very dangerous infection but has now become much less serious, with antibiotic treatment now available to minimise the risk of complications, however there is currently no vaccine.
A full list of vaccinations and when they are available, for children and adults, is accessible through the NHS website.